Jessica Simpson the author is striking again — this time with a revealing glimpse into her romantic life in the early and mid-2000s.
The singer and designer, who previously published the 2020 memoir "Open Book," announced Feb. 1 on Instagram that she'd published an excerpt from a "secret journal" she'd written in her mid-20s as a standalone piece called “Movie Star: They Always Say They’re Single.” It's available on Amazon Original Stories.
The story details how Simpson was pursued — both before and after her marriage to fellow pop star Nick Lachey — by a world-famous movie star. Simpson does not name the actor in her story.
"Only my closest and loyal circle of friends have heard this story," Simpson wrote on Instagram, calling the movie star's pursuit of her a "fantasy become reality romance gone sideways."
The story begins at a MTV VMAs after-party hosted by Jennifer Lopez in 2001. Simpson, who is on a break from dating Nick Lachey, is "dodging calls from two boybanders, one from NSYNC, the other from the Backstreet Boys."
"I had spent that summer apart from my first real boyfriend, Nick, and I still didn’t know how to be single," writes Simpson. "We had dated for nearly three years, starting when I was 18 and he was 24. Now he was 27 and was ready to marry me. But my dad wouldn’t give his blessing. He thought I was too young to get married."
Standing alongside her bodyguard, Simpson, in a black cocktail dress and wide belt she looks back on with scorn, spots "a massive movie star" wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
The Movie Star and Simpson's bodyguard embrace in a "bro hug." Afterward, Simpson's bodyguard introduces the two. The Movie Star, writes Simpson, "gave me a different hug; a modified celebrity embrace he held a few seconds longer than I expected."
As her bodyguard talked, "this megastar, who I grew up thinking was so hot, eyeballed me up and down," she continues. "Like he was undressing me with his eyes, which was fine because I had plenty of reasons to ditch that outfit and change.
"Movie Star started on small talk, and as he leaned in, I had the presence of mind to know, Oh, this is what it’s like to be hit on. Because, other than my ex-boyfriend, no man had ever been so upfront about looking at me in a provocative way," she writes.
After the Movie Star places his hand on her hip, Simpson leans in to him to hear what he's saying. The Movie Star then began talking "even softer."
Simpson's interaction with the Movie Star feels "dreamy," reminding her of romance novels by "Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters."
"This is what they talk about when they talk about swooning, I thought. This is one of those swoon moments," she writes.
Days later, Simpson is on a treadmill at an L.A. gym when the Movie Star begins a workout on the treadmill next to her. "The Movie Star looked me up and down and told me I had a nice form, which, me being me, I took at face value," she writes.
"We should hang out some time," the Movie Star tells her.
Simpson responds by inviting the Movie Star to be in her new music video. "'You should be my lead guy,'" I offered to this man who made millions and millions per film," she writes.
"This is what they talk about when they talk about swooning, I thought. This is one of those swoon moments."Jessica Simpson
Days later, on Sept. 11, 2001, Lachey calls Simpson from New York and the pair get back together. "Our problems, even my dad's objections, now seemed small in the face of people losing so much," she writes.
The Movie Star ultimately turns down Simpson's offer to appear in her video. She and Lachey get engaged months later and then marry in October 2002.
"Then we got ridiculously famous because of a reality show. I don't regret any of it, especially the marriage," Simpson writes. "But, as you probably know, we got divorced."
After the couple's divorce in 2006, Simpson tries to adjust to single life — and dating — again.
Before long, a producer tells Simpson that he knows of someone who's "been after" her for years. He then proceeds to whip out his cell phone and calls the Movie Star.
Simpson and the Movie Star begin communicating. Not long afterward, they share a kiss before Simpson sees a red carpet pic of him and a girlfriend he's never mentioned.
When Simpson confronts the Movie Star about his relationship status, he tells her, "It's completely over ... You are the only girl I want to be with. You're it."
Simpson and the Movie Star begin spending more time together and share "a real connection."
Before long, the Movie Star invites Simpson to join him in New York where he's about to film a new movie — and Simpson obliges even though it's "out of character" for her.
In New York, Simpson is driven around in separate cars from the Movie Star. An assistant brings her to the Movie Star's room using out-of-the-way emergency stairs. She's told the evasiveness is to protect her from the media, but she becomes suspicious.
When it becomes clear that the Movie Star is more than ready to have sex with her, Simpson tells him she's not ready.
"The truth is I was scared to death and I wanted to leave. I still thought he was a total babe, but I was just not going to sleep with him," she writes. "Yes, there was something sexy and enticing about all this, but there was also something demeaning about it. I felt like a call girl," she writes.
Simpson then figures out that all the separate cars and separate entrances are because the Movie Star and his girlfriend are still together.
When Simpson abruptly flies back to L.A., the Movie Star calls to ask why she left. "Maybe I'd shot down his ego so hard, or maybe it was the crisis of morality he obviously struggled with. It didn't matter," she writes.
Simpson then recalls that after her divorce, a friend in Hollywood told her that she went looking for her person "in the wrong people."
"What if, just for a little while, I tried out being my own favorite person?" Simpson asks.
"It would take me a little while longer to get there," she writes. "But it was the start of me learning to love myself fully."